Internationally known deaf actor/comedian CJ Jones will perform at the Wayland Union Fine Arts Center at 7 p.m. Thursay, Oct. 19.
Jones also also will present a workshop for Wayland Union High School’s American Sign Language students from noon to 2 p.m. that day at the high school.
Jones portrayed Joseph, the father of the main character in the summer movies Baby Driver. He is the first black deaf actor in a major movie.
As an entertainer, he has done just about everything, from performing a Tony Award-winning play on National Tour, to directing deaf kids from high school in their own productions. He has acted in TV, written several one-man shows that have toured the US and internationally, and gives motivational speeches to elementaries, high schools, universities, colleges, conventions, and many events across the continent, inspiring hearing and deaf, young and old.
Born in St. Louis, Mo., one of seven hearing children born to deaf parents, he was struck very ill with spinal meningitis and age 7, and consequently lost his hearing. After he became deaf, he briefly tried an oral education in a local school, then transferred to Missouri School for the Deaf, where he graduated high school. Jones then attended National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, NY.
He joined the National Theater for the Deaf, where he toured nationally with main stage plays and Little Theater of the Deaf.
Cast as Orin in “Children of a Lesser God,” he toured USA and Canada for two years, and garnered a group Tony award for their performances. He has also appeared on NBC’s “Frasier,” ABC Family’s “Lincoln Heights,” the PBS television shows “Sesame Street” and “Rainbow’s End,” and was the host of “Happy Hands Kids Klub.”
He has even done voice over roles, voicing a Deaf Indian (played by a hearing actor) in a movie called “PathFinder” from 20th Century Fox. CJ is one of 4 deaf performers showcased in the 2010 documentary “See What I’m Saying,” directed by Hilari Scarl. CJ also appeared “Through Deaf Eyes” on PBS, and in all 6 “Once Upon a Sign” titles. This summer, CJ appeared as “Joseph” in the block-buster movie “Baby Driver.”
His show will include an interpreter and he was brought to the district by WUHS ASL teacher, Sarah Rollandini who received a grant by the Wayland Union Education Foundation.
Tickets are $5/WUS Resident Adults, $10/Non-Resident Adults, Students/FREE. Tickets can be purchased online from the WUFAC webpage at www.waylandunion.org. The Wayland Union Fine Arts Center is located at 870 E. Superior Street in Wayland, Michigan.